Mixing substrate

Posted: March 18, 2013 in Re-potting
Tags: , ,

In between preparing one of my tree’s for the up and coming shohin show I mixed up some smaller grade substrate for re-potting some of my shohin. The substrate I’ve made is based on a mix that my mentor formalized a few years ago or more.
I know in japan that pure akadama is use a lot and there are several people here that use it as well. Personally I don’t think that it’s the best substrate to use here in the UK because our weather is very different from Japan’s. We generally have a lot wetter winter and harder frosts. This leads to akadama breaking down quickly and in the space of 2-3 years it’s a complete mush. The trees soon starts to go down hill and is in dire need of a re-pot. If I were to keep all my trees under cover and keep them on the dry side I think pure akadama would be ok. I’m unfortunately not in that position.
The mix contains small grade akadama, sharp horticultural grit, coarse sand, peat, small washed grade pumice, round Cornish grit, heat-treated fine bark and kyodama (a man-made absorbent grit supplied by Kyoto bonsai here in the UK).

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I’m please with the mix and I think my tree’s should do well in it.

  1. Dave Martin says:

    At last someone with sense, there I was thinking I was a voice in the wilderness, I hope JT agrees with this as well :0))

  2. He should do it’s pretty much his recipe :). If your interest in the quantities I use: 4 parts akadama, 2 horticultural grit, 1 sand, 2 pumice , 2 organic/peat, 2 coarse grit, 4 pine bark and 2 kyodama. I’ve left out the organic/peat this year for the few pines I did before I went away and I’m interested to see how they get on.

  3. Dave Martin says:

    Thanks for the additional info. It is useful to compare mixes as I am still after that holy grail of bonsai ‘the perfect mix’ ha ha.

  4. Hi M8, i used to go quite similar but the only things i’ve now dropped are the bark – i thought an organic component would help but further research showed bark depleats nitrogen from the soil as it decomposes. The cornish grit is freezing cold too – (granite i think) – so kiryu or the lighter and warmer ezo grit is my substitute.

  5. Thanks Marcus. It’s interesting to see what they use in Japan though, it’s not applicable back home with the different weather conditions. It has helped me to understand better though and it’s given me some ideas what to do back home.

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